10. Jesus must be preeminent in all things because he is our Savior. (v 20)
Slide 13 of 14
We first need to understand the need for reconciliation. As we noted in v. 16, all things were created in, by, and for Christ. What Paul does not mention here is what happened to this creation after it came into existence. Because of the fall of Adam, the unity, harmony, and consonance of the original creation have suffered a devastating rupture. That pristine beauty of Eden has been horribly marred. Disharmony was brought to bear on God's handiwork. Alienation (between God and man, between man and man, and between man and nature) now characterizes the cosmos. In a word, the totality of creation is mired in disruption and suffers from what one can only describe as moral, spiritual, and physical discombobulation.
In a word, we and all of creation are at enmity with God. We are at war with him. Our sin has put us in an adversarial position with respect to our Creator. And the only power that can bring peace, the only means by which we can be reconciled and redeemed and forgiven and relate to God as Father and Friend is “by the blood of his [Christ’s] cross” (v. 20b).
Does this verse teach universalism? No. In Colossians 2:15 we are told that God through Christ has vanquished or conquered demonic forces. He did not save them. The point is that “through the work of Christ on the cross, God has brought his entire rebellious creation back under the rule of his sovereign power” (Moo, 136-37). He has restored order from the chaos. This order comes about not only through the salvation of his people but also through the subjugation of his enemies.
What I’m saying is that the “reconciliation” Paul has in mind includes the notion of subjugation and the bringing to naught of God's enemies. God’s reconciliation of all things includes not only the salvation of his people but also the triumph and victory over those who are and forever will be his enemies.
Thus the demonic hosts and unbelieving humanity may be spoken of as encompassed by and participating in the “reconciliation”, not in the sense that they are ultimately saved, but insofar as they will be subjugated, pacified, and rendered incapable of any longer disrupting the harmony and beauty of God's creative handiwork. According to Scripture, all evil will be excluded from heaven, all wickedness banished from its boundaries, all unbelief confined in hell (see Revelation 21:8,27; 22:15).
The point is that “peace” can be achieved in one of two ways: either by the removal of hostility through grace or by the subjugation of enemies through power and judgment. Although all creation will ultimately bow the knee and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:10-11), the elect will do it voluntarily, by grace, whereas the non-elect will do it by compulsion, as an expression of their judgment.
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